Pole to Pole: One small step, one giant leap

09 October 2013 | News story
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The leading zoos and aquariums of Europe, through the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) will, together with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Arctic Action Team and other partners, raise awareness and stimulate behaviour change for the conservation of the biodiversity of the two Poles. 

For the next two years EAZA will be running the Pole to Pole Campaign throughout Europe and the Middle East – a campaign about the two Poles, the wonderfully varied species living there and the threats they face. The campaign focuses on everyone and on how small changes in our behaviour can help saving polar species.

The "leading characters" in this zoo campaign, the Polar Bear and the King Penguin, are both highly charismatic ambassador species representing respectively the Arctic and Antarctica. Being present in zoos all over the world, their stories, as well as those of their "supporting cast" (including Arctic Fox, Beluga Whale, Muskox, Chinstrap Penguin, Albatross and Southern Fur Seal), are to inspire everyone to make small changes in their daily life that can save these species and their habitat for future generations.

The EAZA Pole to Pole Campaign focuses attention on one small individual action that is relatively easy to undertake. The "Pull the Plug Challenge" is very simple and straightforward: participants pledge to unplug at one or more electronic devices for a period of at least two months (this period can be extended when signing up). Pulling the plug is about promoting one small sustainable action that will generate a huge impact with the growing participation of many. This "gateway" behaviour is designed to get people interested in changing behaviours and also changing their perception of themselves into someone who cares about the environment. It highlights the effectiveness of collective action in reducing energy use and protecting biodiversity in the Polar Regions and beyond.

Many people don’t realize that many appliances have a standby mode during which they are not providing useful output but still consume energy. Standby power is electricity used by appliances and equipment while they are switched off or not performing their primary function. Leaving appliances in standby mode consumes a significant amount of energy and is roughly responsible for 1% of global CO2 emissions.

It has been estimated that if all of the 140 million visitors to EAZA zoos with a mobile phone were to disconnect their phone charger after charging, this would save up to 29 million KW of energy which equals 422,149 oil barrels or 119,032 football fields of forest. The main aim of the Pole to Pole Campaign is to promote sustainable behaviour. Through the "Pull the Plug Challenge" it is anticipated that participants will come to realize that as an individual you actually can make a difference for a better environment. This realization will ultimately stimulate the engagement in more and other types of sustainable actions and as such create a snowball effect.

More information about the campaign can be found here.

Register your Pull the Plug pledge here.


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